Development Milestones

Your baby is here at last, hooray! Now for the fun part where you get to watch each new skill develop. Development milestones are just a guide. Babies don’t develop at the same rate, and your baby’s reactions may vary depending if he is sick, sleepy or hungry at the time. Premature babies generally reach milestones later than others of the same birth age. Happy baby watching…


  • Within a few days of birth, your baby will probably be able to:
  • Lift his/her head briefly when on the tummy
  • Focus on objects within 20 to 25cm
  • Move his/her arms and legs on both sides of the body equally well.

1 Months

  • Lifts head briefly when on stomach on a flat surface
  • Focuses on a face
  • Responds to sound

2 Months

  • Smiles in response to your smile
  • Vocalises sounds (gurgling and cooing)
  • Follows objects with his/her eyes in an arc about 15cm from the face
  • Holds head up for short periods
  • Responds to some sounds

3 Months

  • Laughs
  • Lifts head up 45 degrees
  • Holds head steady
  • Recognises your face and scent

4 Months

  • Lifts head up 90 degrees when on stomach
  • Demonstrates the ability to grasp objects
  • Holds head up steadily
  • Enjoys "peek-a-boo" games
  • Bears weight on legs
  • Coos when you talk to him/her
  • Laughs out loud
  • Communicates fear, hunger and discomfort

5 Months

  • Holds head steady when upright
  • Raises chest supported by arms when on stomach
  • Rolls over
  • Pays attention to a very small object
  • Squeals in delight
  • Reaches for an object
  • Smiles spontaneously

6 Months

  • Keeps head level with body when pulled to sitting position
  • Says vowel-consonant combinations
  • Braces shoulders when pulled to sit
  • Extends arms when lying on tummy

7 Months

  • Sits unsupported
  • Feeds self with biscuit
  • Makes a wet razzling sound

8 Months

  • Picks up small object e.g. marble using the thumb and forefinger
  • Bears some weight on legs when held upright
  • Passes an object from one hand to another

9 Months

  • Babbles loudly
  • Understands simple phrases such as "no-no" and "bye-bye"
  • Clearly distinguishes strangers from familiar persons; clings to known adult and hides face
  • Looks for dropped objects
  • Attempts to get to a toy out of reach

12 Months

  • Sits well on floor and for indefinite time
  • Rises to sitting position from lying down.
  • Pulls to standing
  • Crawls or shuffles on buttocks
  • Walks one hand held
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Picks up fine objects with pincer grasp

15 Months

  • Walks alone with uneven steps
  • Lets self down from standing to sitting
  • Creeps up stairs and gets down backwards
  • Builds tower of two blocks after demonstration
  • Shows definition-by-use of common objects
  • Jabbers loudly and freely and speaks 2-6 or more recognisable words in correct context
  • Understands and obeys simple instructions

18 Months

  • Pushes and pulls large toys, e.g. wheeled toys
  • Walks well with feet only slightly apart
  • No longer needs to hold upper arms in extension to balance
  • Climbs into adult chair
  • Walks up and down stairs with help
  • Builds tower of three blocks after demonstration
  • Uses 6-20 recognisable words and understands many more
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